Jerry B. Wells is a highly experienced probate litigation lawyer in Daytona Beach, FL, representing probate administrators and other individuals in will and trust contests for over 40-years. The firm serves clients throughout Volusia County, including DeLand, New Smyrna Beach, Ormond Beach, Port Orange, FL, and Palm Coast.
Probate is a court-supervised legal process for administering a decedent’s estate in accordance with the Last Will and Testament or per Florida Law when there is no valid or binding will (intestate). There are two types of probate administration in Florida – Summary Administration and Formal Administration. Unless the estate qualifies for a simpler Summary Administration, a Formal Administration is required. To be eligible for a summary administration, the estate's value of nonexempt assets must not exceed $75,000, and the decedent must have passed away for at least two years. An experienced probate lawyer can help determine which probate administration is in the estate's best interest.
Wills and trusts are challenged in one of three ways: improper execution, incapacity, and undue influence.
Improper Execution: For a will to be legal and valid, it must be executed under Florida law. While improper execution is a rare occurrence, it is typically the first document a probate lawyer reviews to determine if the will is executed as prescribed by law.
Incapacity: You may be familiar with the term "must be of sound mind." It is used frequently in legal documents and proceedings. For example, the law stipulates that a testator (will-maker) must have the mental ability to understand the disposition of assets to heirs and beneficiaries in the will. Therefore, if it can be proven that the decedent was mentally incapacitated at the time, any changes to the Last Will & Testament may be stricken reinstating the original will.
Undue Influence: The law also requires that the testator is writing or modifying the will with his own free will and is not under the stress or undue influence of others. For example, a person cannot pressure or force a testator to modify a will.
If you’re involved in a probate dispute, contact us at (386) 253-3676 to schedule an appointment with an experienced probate litigation attorney serving the Daytona Beach, FL area!